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[fon-iks or for 2, foh-niks] /ˈfɒn ɪks or for 2, ˈfoʊ nɪks/
noun, (used with a singular verb)
a method of teaching reading and spelling based upon the phonetic interpretation of ordinary spelling.
Obsolete, phonetics.
Origin of phonics
1675-85; phon- + -ics Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for phonics
  • phonics is a good start, but the only the easy part.
  • It is also an excellent tool for improving phonological awareness and practicing phonics skills.
  • The combination of phonics and subject matter has great merit.
  • It also gives me an opportunity to teach phonics and spelling.
  • The show now features a lot of poppy songs about phonics.
  • Centers feature phonics picture cards to also reinforce skills.
  • If phonics instruction begins early in kindergarten, it should be completed by the end of first grade.
British Dictionary definitions for phonics


noun (functioning as sing)
an obsolete name for acoustics (sense 1)
a method of teaching people to read by training them to associate letters with their phonetic values
Derived Forms
phonic, adjective
phonically, adverb
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for phonics

1680s, "science of sound," from Greek phone "sound" (see fame (n.)) + -ics. As a method of teaching reading it is first attested 1908, though the system dates from 1844.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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